The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) has recently made available a new National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) Web-based data entry tool known as the Data Entry Browser Interface (DEBI). The new DEBI enables total web-based data entry into NFIRS, eliminating the need to download and install client software on the NFIRS user’s computer. DEBI will run using standard web browsers that will provide access to the application from any computer that has an Internet connection.
“Because DEBI does not need to be downloaded, installed, and configured, it requires much less time and technical knowledge from the NFIRS user,” said Glenn Gaines, Acting U.S. Fire Administrator. “We hope this new tool will enhance the NFIRS user experience, increase fire department participation, and lead to improved timeliness of reporting and data quality.”
Enhancements for NFIRS were provided under the USFA Reauthorization Act of 2008 and have led to an opportunity for the USFA to make upgrades to NFIRS. These upgrades, which began in October of 2008 with the development of DEBI, went into beta testing on July 10, 2010. DEBI is now available to the nation’s fire service for their NFIRS reporting.
In order to use DEBI, which is free of cost to all users, a fire department must have completed the user registration at www.nfirs.fema.gov/users/ and its NFIRS State Program Manager must have assigned it the necessary permissions to use the new tool and activated its account. If a department does not already have an active NFIRS user account, it should contact its NFIRS State Program Manager. Using DEBI requires Internet connectivity, an Internet browser version compatible with the application, and a computer that meets necessary system requirements as outlined at www.nfirs.fema.gov/webtools/. Use of approved third party commercial software as an alternative is still permitted. In addition, departments may continue to use the USFA client Data Entry Tool (DET) if desired.
The Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (PL 93-498) authorizes USFA’s National Fire Data Center to gather and analyze information on the magnitude of the nation’s fire problem as well as its detailed characteristics and trends. In order to carry out the intentions of the Act, NFIRS was established. NFIRS has two objectives: to help state and local governments develop fire reporting and analysis capability for their own uses and to obtain data which can be used to more accurately assess and subsequently combat the fire problem at a national level. For more information on NFIRS, visit www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/nfirs/. For technical assistance or questions regarding NFIRS or DEBI, please contact the NFIRS Support Center at (888) 382-3827.